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CHS hosting tournament this Saturday
Brian Ayala
Brian Ayala and Ceres High’s boys wrestling team will compete at home this weekend. The Bulldogs are hosting the Ceres Invitational. - photo by Dale Butler

A total of 15 boys wrestling programs will compete at the 54th Ceres Invitational this Saturday at Phil de la Porte Gymnasium.

The tournament field will feature teams from nine different leagues, including host Ceres High School (Western Athletic Conference), Central Valley (Central California Conference), Beyer (WAC), Johansen (WAC), Mountain House (WAC), Enochs (Central California Athletic League), Gregori (CCAL), Modesto High (CCAL), East Union (Valley Oak League), Manteca (VOL), Livingston (Trans Valley League), Big Valley Christian (Central California Athletic Alliance), Sonora (Mother Lode League), Liberty Ranch (Sierra Valley Conference) and Deer Valley (Bay Valley Conference).

“I’m confident my team will do well,” CHS new head coach Casey Paulino said. “But everybody has got to bring their A-game. In this sport, you can’t wrestle not to lose. You have to wrestle to win.”

“There’s no reason we shouldn’t succeed,” Bulldogs’ heavyweight grappler Elias Saldana said. “We have some returning athletes. We should win some medals and do well as a team.”

Ceres High took third at its home tournament last season.

The crosstown-rival Hawks made program history by claiming the overall title for the first time.

Livingston was second.

Saldana, Brian Ayala, Sonald Lal and Angel Figueroa will lead Ceres High this year.

Saldana, Ayala, Lal and Figueroa all medaled at the 2018 Ceres Invitational.

Saldana finished second in the 285-pound division.

Ayala (126s), Lal (106s) and Figueroa (170s) placed second, third and sixth, respectively.

“It’s a long day,” Saldana said. “You have to stay focused on your goal. I’m going to do my best to make sure I don’t place second again. I’ve never gotten a championship ring. I’m hoping to collect one my last year.”

Ruben Valenzuela and Thomas Carrillo will lead Central Valley.

Valenzuela won the 170-pound title last season.

Carrillo took third at 220 pounds.

The Ceres Invitational will get underway at 9 a.m.

The top three teams take home plagues.

The top six individual placers in each weight class will be rewarded. 

Individual champions receive rings.